Friday, December 10, 2010

New High of Liquid Fuel Production

Both the IEA and OPEC are out with their new monthly reports today. And both report that oil production in November 2010 exceeded the previous high month of July 2008 (back when oil was $140).  Probably the difference is within the margin of error, and in any case the third agency (the EIA) won't weigh in for a few months.  At the moment, the average index looks like pretty much a statistical tie:

Still, a significant point: not peak monthly oil just yet.  As long as there isn't a massive financial crisis in the next few months (which is what happened to the last global high in oil production) I imagine we'll clearly exceed the July 2008 peak production.  In particular, the point I first made here still holds: the increases in the last eighteen months have largely come from non-OPEC production rather than OPEC, and the latter undoubtedly still have some spare capacity that can be released (at a price).  Thus production can and will go somewhat higher as long as demand continues to increase, which will be true as long as the global economy doesn't hit another big pothole.

However, prices have been creeping up lately:

I wouldn't be surprised to see that trend continue, on and off, until it starts to cause real problems.


Mike Aucott said...

Yes, and the total cost of fossil fuels as a percent of GDP for the U.S. for 2010, according to my preliminary estimate, appears to be up to above 4% again. An important aspect is whether the price of natural gas stays low, and if so, how much of it can be converted to liquid - probably at least 8 Mbd of "total liquids" is from natural gas.

David said...

What you are talking about is increase in oil equivalents. ie burnable liquid fuels. What your graph does not show is the various components of total liquids. This is important as we know from IEA that conventional oil could well be past peak with the possibly higher EROEI oil may well be being replaced with lower EROEI fuels.

Even if NGL liquids is growing, countries like the US are not adapting their fleet to changing circumstances. ie 200K cars running on a LPG (propane and butane is chicken feed compared to other countries with higher percapita vehicles running on what is growing ie Natural gas liquids.

How other countries use NGL's in transport

While people like Jeff Rubin have rubbished NGL production in the past as being only good for cigarette lighters, it does and can play an important role as a transport fuel.

Stuart Staniford said...

David, Mike:

To the best of my knowledge, only EIA makes freely available estimates for crude and condensates only, and they are a few months behind. I argued here that the C&C picture was not qualitatively different, thought of course it is quantitatively different. At any rate, we won't know for some time whether the C&C totals will exceed the earlier peaks.

KLR said...

Huh? You must mean something very different by "estimates," Stuart, or are on a different page than the rest of us. EIA provides 5 different streams via their International Energy Statistics portal: Total, Crude+NGL+Others, C+C, NGLs, Other, and Refinery Gain. They do lag - as I like to tell hyper fast musicians, do you have a train to catch? ;)

Quality matters, just try dumping some propane in your car's tank. More and more nations are switching to NGVs, as documented at the IANGV site. I mean to compare oil consumption trends vs what they show for adoption of NG for vehicles here - looks to me like they're just adding motorists instead of displacing petroleum.

The diff between world liquids and C+C in 1980 was 4429.55 kb/d, 6.92% of the all liquids figure. In 2009 this was 11919.09 kb/d and 14.20%. Looks like it's a sure bet to go long on Coleman gas. Would be nice to have a set of estimates of how much of that can really be chalked up as double counting.

Alexander Ac said...

So the peak oil deniers got it right, finally! :-)

I expect oil prices to crash in the next few months, any bet with me somebody? :-)

Stuart Staniford said...

KLR - my sentence structure got a little garbled, but I was saying that only EIA makes available estimates of C&C, not that EIA only make available estimates of C&C.

David said...


Matt Mushalik at Crude Oil Peak has done some interesting graphs breaking out C&C and NGL's. Its well worth a view. You get a good view of who is producing these NGL's.